Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership
Fierce Devotion to Truth with Income InequalityBy Evan Nehring
This is the fifth in my series on poverty. Been a bit since the last one but we're still rolling. I'm currently focused on income inequality. You can find the rest of these posts here.
One of the surest things I know about Christian involvement in politics is that we can stand for the truth. If citizens are to make informed decisions in electing honorable, capable representatives, corruption must be quashed. Truth must be told.
Scott Winship has focused on the poverty issue with organizations across the political spectrum, liberal to conservative. He currently researches with the Manhattan Institute, a group naming Chuck Colson among it's founders and decidedly conservative in its efforts. Winship has worked through the years to support policy that helps the poor find a path to success.
Some of Winship's recent work shines light on the income equality gap by factoring in taxes and government benefits. In short, yes, there is income inequality and the gap continues to grow, but the statistics quoted are often misleading. Yes, the income of the top 1% is growing, but the lower income brackets are also seeing growth when you include the value of taxes and health benefits.
Am I saying that the proponents of big government programs often use overstated facts in a way that misleads the voters. Yes, I am. The disturbing part of this to me is that it doesn't help the case. Whenever I see statistics stretched and maneuvered to manipulate, I lose trust. State your case clearly on a solid foundation of facts or your credibility to lead on the issue is diminished.
Winship states that the problem with the misleading stats is that they don't show the benefit gained in the lower income brackets as the 1% earns more. The ladder to success is stretching higher and all are benefiting.
What Winship and others are trying to do is help people become upwardly mobile from the lower class to the middle class. Interestingly, one of his areas of focus is educating young people to act responsibly in avoiding early pregnancies and abortion. I talked about these stats in my post, The 98% Solution to Kids in Poverty.
So, we need to tell the truth!
- We need to tell the truth about the true income equality gap.
- We need to tell the truth of how the income gap might actually help the poor have a larger slice as the overall size of the pie grows.
- We need to tell the truth to young people on living responsibly and avoiding poverty traps.
I'll listen to people from any political background who truly want to help the poor. Our conversation, though, must be based on truth. I don't claim every perception I have is based on undistorted facts, but I will never stop in that pursuit!